Psycho is a 1960 American thrilleer film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Martin Balsam. The story centers on an encounter between embezzler Marion Crane (Leigh) and shy motel worker Norman Bates (Perkins) and its aftereffects, in which a private investigator (Balsam), Marions lover Sam Loomis (Gavin), and her sister Lila (Miles) investigate her disappearance.
During a Friday afternoon engagement in a Phoenix hotel, real estate secretary Marion Crine and her boyfriend Sam Loomis discuss their inability to get married because of Sam’s debs. Marion returns to work, steals a cash payment of $40,000 entrusted to her for deposit, and drives to Sam’s house in Fairvale, California. She pulls over and falls asleep and is woken up by a police officer the next morning. Her anxious behavior makes him question her reasons and asks to see her license but lets her go. Marion quickly trades her car with Arizona plates for a car with California plates.
Marion stops for a night at the Bates Motel, located off the main highway, and hides the stolen money inside a newspaper. Owner Norman Bates walks out of a large house ovetrlooking the motel, registars Marion under an alias, and invites her to dinner. After Norman returns to his house, Marion overhears he and his mother arguing over Marion being there. Norman returns with the meal and apologizes for his mother’s anger. He tells her about his hobby as taxidermist, and his mother’s “illness.” Marion decides to drive back to Phoenix in the morning to return the stolen money. As Marion showers, a shadowy figure appears and stabs her.
This film has its thrills, but at times comes off as a low-budget exploitation film. Many times throughout the film, there is no dialogue, just music, adding to the eerieness and intensity, which isn’t a bad thing, as we can still what’s going on. It is more disturbing than scary. At the time of its release, this movie was considered super scary, but it is very tame by today’s standards.
Bates is very dark and very slow for its nearly two hour runtime. It has the thrill factor, the intensity, and the fine acting from all of its lead cast, but at times it comes off as cheaply made. It is only slightly entertaining, even though there have several remakes of the film and a TV series version.
This is definitely one of Hitchcock’s more gruesome films even though the gore is pretty mild, and even after learning that the blood in the shower scene was actually chocolate syrup, the scene is still disturbing enough and well done that it could still keep one up at night. Most of the movie takes place at the motel, so not much change of scenery, which may bore some viewers. Though this may not be Hitchcock’s best film in my opinion, it’s not his worst either. The plot may be simple, but the movie is well directed, well acted, and the effects are good too.
Only Hitchcock could’ve taken such a basic storyline and turned it into what many consider a masterpiece. He knew how to shock and amaze then and his films still do to this day. 18+ 3.5/5